Test Pattern by Marjorie Klein
A Novel

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Synopsis

A dazzling and strikingly original fiction debut from an exciting new talent

From the moment a new TV set arrives at the Palmer household in 1954 in Newport News, Virginia, change is in the wind. Eleven-year-old Cassie glimpses snapshots of the future in the hypnotic test pattern. Mesmerized, Cassie sees snippets from Kennedy's assassination, the Beatles' debut, man's landing on the Moon, and the O. J. Simpson trial. Her starstruck mother, Lorena, delights in the magical images flickering on the screen too, and finds the strength to pursue her dreams of becoming a professional dancer. Lorena soon plunges into an affair with an old flame, whose cousin turns out to be a talent scout for Arthur Godfrey, and risks her marriage to Cassie's dad, an accident-prone, depressed construction worker. As Lorena learns that the path to fame and fortune is strewn with obstacles, Cassie's own eyes are being opened to the world outside of provincial Newport News-and to the even richer world within herself.

Brilliantly re-creating the innocence and energy of the '50s, Test Pattern is a tour de force of wit, spirit, and imagination. From the moment a new TV set arrives at the Palmer household in 1954 in Newport News, Virginia, change is in the wind. Eleven-year-old Cassie glimpses snapshots of the future in the hypnotic test pattern. Mesmerized, Cassie sees snippets from Kennedy's assassination, the Beatles' debut, man's landing on the Moon, and the O. J. Simpson trial. Her starstruck mother, Lorena, delights in the magical images flickering on the screen too, and finds the strength to pursue her dreams of becoming a professional dancer. Lorena soon plunges into an affair with an old flame, whose cousin turns out to be a talent scout for Arthur Godfrey, and risks her marriage to Cassie's dad, an accident-prone, depressed construction worker. As Lorena learns that the path to fame and fortune is strewn with obstacles, Cassie's own eyes are being opened to the world outside of provincial Newport News-and to the even richer world within herself.

Brilliantly re-creating the innocence and energy of the '50s, Test Pattern is a tour de force of wit, spirit, and imagination.

 

About Marjorie Klein

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Raised in Newport News, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., Marjorie Klein is a freelance writer whose subjects have ranged from Harley-Davidson to the Holocaust Museum, drugs to malls, Lubavitch Jews to retired circus freaks. She has taught creative writing at Florida International University and lives with her husband, Don, in Coconut Grove, Florida.
 
Published August 16, 2011 by William Morrow. 288 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Test Pattern

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Journalist Marjorie Klein devotes her debut novel Test Pattern to exploring the impact of a new television on one coastal Virginia household in 1954.

Mar 29 2002 | Read Full Review of Test Pattern: A Novel

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